Volume I is the first of two volumes that document the three components of the CHILDES Project. It is divided into two parts which provide an introduction to the use of computational tools for studying language learning. The first part is the CHAT manual, which describes the conventions and principles of CHAT transcription and recommends specific methods for data collection and digitization. The second part is the CLAN manual, which describes the uses of the editor, sonic CHAT, and the various analytic commands. The book will be useful for both novice and experienced users of the CHILDES tools, as well as instructors and students working with transcripts of child language.
Volume II describes in detail all of the corpora included in the CHILDES database. The conversational interactions in the corpora come from monolingual children and their caregivers and siblings, as well as bilingual children, older school-aged children, adult second-language learners, children with various types of language disabilities, and aphasic recovering from language loss. The database includes transcripts in 26 different languages.
The CD-ROM that accompanies these volumes includes the transcript files described in Volume II. It runs on both Windows and Macintosh platforms. For more information or updates to the files, visit the CHILDES Web site at http://childes.psy.cmu.edu
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction. Principles. CHAT Outline. File Headers. Words. Morphemes. Utterances. Scoped Symbols. Dependent Tiers. CA Transcription. Signed Language--BTS. Extending CHAT. UNIBETs. Error Coding. Speech Act Codes. Morphosyntactic Coding. Word Lists. Recording Techniques. Symbol Summary.
"In summary, Brian MacWhinney has provided a comprehensive discussion and explanation of the CHILDES Project in these books. The issues addressed should make them of interest to SLA researchers, as well as to the main audience of child language researchers."
"CHILDES can clearly be adapted to the needs of SLA researchers, especially where such research demands recourse to massive quantities of second language (L2) data and sophisticated coding mechanisms....The updated and expanded exposition of CHILDES in MacWhinney (2000) makes the enormous effect of the project on the field of child L1 acquisition unmistakable."
—Second Language Research